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West Texas

West Texas

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West Texas
H. Dale Durham
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West Gulf

------------------------------- ARRL West Texas Section Section Manager: H. Dale Durham, -------------------------------


December 2019 West Texas Section Managers Report

Can you believe that it is December already?  Didn’t we just take down the Christmas decorations from last Christmas?

Time flies when you are having fun!  And being a ham radio operator is a wonderful hobby that produces lots of fun in addition to our being able to support our communities in fun events and in emergencies!

As the calendar year winds down, we must pause and reflect on what has transpired over the past year.  In my estimation we have a lot to be thankful for.  Changes have been made in our organizational structure with new faces at ARRL HQ, my reelection as your Section Manager, David Woolweaver’s retirement and John Stratton stepping up to be Director and then being elected as the West Gulf Division Director.  Long time South Texas Section Manager Lee Cooper coming out of retirement to become our Division Vice Director and last but not least the election of Steve Lott as Section Manager of North Texas and Paul Gilbert as Section Manager of South Texas. I am proud to be a part of this group of folks to serve you, our ham radio community.

All of us who were elected or reelected this year know that our being elected was brought about by our commitment in serving you, the ARRL membership.  As we know, over the past few years the ARRL had drifted away from focusing on being a membership organization to one that was being run as a corporation thereby getting away from its roots.  With elections that occurred in other Divisions and here in the West Gulf Division, I’m positive that we will see many changes at ARRL that reflect the shift back to serving you, our members.

Throughout the year we have seen lots of controversies over whether certain digital operations will interface with older established operating programs.  While this is quite understandable, we must consider that our hobby is evolving and embracing new technologies. 

I, like many of you, love the old traditional modes of operation on the HF bands.  But, I also embrace the ability to use the many digital programs and computer interfaces that have really moved our hobby forward into the 21st century.  I love the ability to use computer based logging.  At the touch of a few key strokes I can see what countries I’ve worked, what bands I’ve worked them on and whether I have worked a particular station. Yes, we could do this before, but it may have taken an hour or more to get the information that is now immediately available to us by a few keystrokes or mouse clicks.

I’ve noticed that ham radio operators seem to like to get “one up” on each other.  One of the most humorous exchanges I heard was years ago when I was a fairly new ham.  A couple of older gentlemen were in a very heated argument on the air regarding the date and number on some certificates they had received for some awards given by the ARRL or CQ magazine.  Their argument went on for some time until someone broke into the conversation and asked them what difference it made.  They had both achieved the same goal.

I have also heard terms used in describing other hams that could be interpreted as being complimentary or condescending.  Terms like “super hams”, “a ham’s ham”, or so and so is a “real ham”.  These terms often were used to describe an individual that enjoyed the same aspects of the hobby as those using the terms.  They were also used in describing someone we didn’t measure up in their estimation.  I honestly don’t know what it takes to make a “super ham” or to be a” ham’s ham”. 

I think that we are all equal in being licensed ham radio operators.  The fact that someone excels in a certain aspect of our hobby or someone holds a higher class of license than someone else does not make them better.  It simply means that they have chosen to participate in what they enjoy.  A Technician who only enjoys talking on the local repeater is just as much a ham as a person who is on the Honor Roll.

While I am striving to achieve Honor Roll status, I do not look down my nose as someone who is not interested in achieving that goal or for that matter even upgrading their license class.  Bottom line is that there is room for all of us to enjoy our hobby as we see fit.

My last food for thought as I reflect on this past year and look forward to the next year is something I hear on the bands quite frequently.  This has to do with frequency ownership. 

During a recent DXpedition I heard a gentlemen trying hard to chastise a fairly rare DX station on their listening frequency.  Of course, the band police were out in force telling him the frequency was in use, the operator was split, etc. The complaining individual was insistent on this station vacating the frequency because he had a net that was scheduled to start in ten minutes and, that the net had been on that frequency for 20 years! 

If you dial around you will hear similar concerns being expressed.   I have personally been told that in a polite way and I changed frequency.  But, that schedule or net could have also easily moved up or down five KC’s.   Folks, we have a limited spectrum and we have to share it. No one owns a particular frequency regardless how long you have been using it.  Be kind to each other.

I and our other elected ARRL officials are here to serve you.  We all do our best to address the needs of our Sections.  We want to hear from you!


Merry Christmas and have a happy and blessed New Year?




West Texas Officials